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The refusal by a judge to sustain an objection set forth by an attorney during a trial, such as an objection to a particular question posed to a witness. To make void, annul, supersede, or reject through a subsequent decision or action.

A judicial decision is overruled when a later decision, made by the same tribunal or a higher court in the same system, hands down a decision concerning the identical Question of Law, which is in direct opposition to the earlier decision. The earlier decision is thereby overruled and deprived of its authority as precedent.


v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a question of a witness or admission of evidence. By overruling the objection, the trial judge allows the question or evidence in court. If the judge agrees with the objection he/she "sustains" the objection and does not allow the question or evidence. 2) to decide (by a court of appeals) that a prior appeals decision on a legal issue was not correct, and is therefore no longer a valid precedent on that legal question. (See: objection, sustain)


verb abrogate, annul, cancel, decide against, gubernare, invalidate, make null, make void, nullify, obviate, override, overturn, refuse to sustain, reject, reject by subsequent action, reject by subbequent decision, renounce, repeal, repudiate, rescind, reverse, revoke, rule against, rule out, set aside, undo, upset, vincere, void
Associated concepts: overrule a decision, overrule a motion, overrule an objection
See also: abolish, abrogate, annul, cancel, command, disaffirm, disown, dominate, invalidate, negate, nullify, override, predominate, prevent, quash, reject, repeal, repudiate, rescind, subjugate, supersede, vacate, void, withdraw


to set aside the rule of a lower court. When achieved by a superior court in the Anglo-American system, the effect is retrospective. The term can be used of a statute that changes the legal effect of a decision. This is done from the date the statute comes into force.

Parliament can, of course, make the statute come into effect retrospectively, but this is something that is generally thought to be a dangerous form of legislation that may go against the rule of law.

TO OVERRULE. To annul, to make void. This word is frequently used to signify that a case has been decided directly opposite to a former case; when this takes place, the first decided case is said to be overruled as a precedent, and cannot any longer be considered as of binding authority.
     2. Mr. Greenleaf has made a very valuable collection of overruled cases, of great service to the practitioner.
     3. The term overrule also signifies that a majority of the judges have decided against the opinion of the minority, in which case the latter are said to be overruled.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Casey Court asserted that four alternative pragmatic considerations go into deciding whether to overrule.
The Casey Court went on to contrast its decision with earlier Courts' decisions to overrule Lochner (20) (employing Lochner as a short-hand for the Court's pre-1937 laissez faire jurisprudence) and Plessy v.
Having concluded not to overrule Roe--or, more precisely, to reconceptualize Roe and then to stand fast behind that reconceptualization--the Court then proceeded to overrule two cases applying Roe.
Casey seems to suggest that the decision whether or not to overrule depends not on changes in the Court's personnel but rather changes in society.
Thus, if an opinion overrules a case while reaching its ultimate judgment, the judgment can be said to include the act of overruling.
After all, when judges overrule a previous decision, they do more than disagree with that decision; they assert an individual position and reject the external substantiation of their opinion.
This sample set includes only those cases that overrule a previous constitutional decision.
Judges overrule because unconditional adherence to precedent is not always desirable.
First, throughout his decisions, Justice Young failed to undertake even one Robinson analysis when deciding to overrule a case.
In contrast to Justice Taylor's laborious process of first examining the language of a statute, its English syntax, and its plain meaning to arrive at the ultimate decision to overrule a prior decision based on statutory interpretation, Justice Young simply employs a historical and policy-based approach.
120) Justice Markman's treatment of stare decisis undermines the idea of precedent by applying the rationale behind the general policy of adherence to precedent to the argument promulgating the majority's duty to overrule erroneous decisions.
130) Justice Markman, therefore, effectively detached himself from any consideration of fairness in his statutory interpretation analysis--allowing him to overrule precedent and formulate the rule preferred by the current majority.